Canadians becoming cuckoo for Korean kimchi

korean

For a few weeks now, I’ve been planning to write a post about the rising popularity of Korean food. A spate of recent PR driven articles in foodservice publications and the main stream press show that other food writers have taken notice of this cuisine while the three-foot high letters on a banner over the checkouts at my local T&T Chinese supermarket proclaim “We Love Korean Food” prove that retailers have figured out that consumers are kooky for kimchi, too.

So, I was very pleased by the serendipity in life when Martin came home Friday with a little care package from our Korean friend and food lover, Jee. She has cooked for us many times and often sends little bits of this and that over for us to try. Through Jee I’ve learned a lot about Korean cooking and ingredients and she is my go-to-it person for all Korean cuisine questions.

Friday’s eggplant-based pickle seemed a bit mild by normal Jee standards, but it was delicious and for several days I served it to everyone who’d try a bite, proudly proclaiming it a Korean delicacy. Oddly, I didn’t serve it with Korean food: I had some with crackers and cheese and I plunked a bowl of this pickle on the table when I served duck and rice stuffed lotus leaves (a Chinese dim sum standard – more on that recipe later this week) for dinner.

When a few days later Vince, Jee’s husband, dropped by, I asked him what this wonderful eggplanty goodness was called.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Jee bought a huge jar of it at the Japanese grocery store. There was no way we could eat it all and since she thought you’d like it, she sent some over.”

I was momentarily chagrined since I’d already taken the photo above and had plans for my Korean post. Now what was I going to write?

Then I realized that this situation is a wonderful example of daily life in Toronto. Where else can your Korean friend send over Japanese food that you serve with Chinese food? If that isn’t an example of living in a cosmopolitan city, I don’t know what is!

Now, back to Korean food… have you noticed more Korean restaurants or recipes turning up lately? And, if you have, will you be jumping on the bandwagon or waving as it goes by?

6 Responses to Canadians becoming cuckoo for Korean kimchi

  1. Rosa says:

    Here, it isn’t yet very trendy, but there are a few restaurants… I have already tasted Korean food before, so I will not be jumping on the bamdwagon! Besides, I dislike trends, because they are not really based on a genuine interest, only on the hip aspect of food ;-P…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. danamccauley says:

    Actually Rosa, what you call I trend I call a fad. Trends have deeper roots in cultures and last longer than fads because there is genuine interest driving popularity.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Cheryl says:

    There’s a huge stretch of road only about 20 minutes from me with tons of Korean restaurants. I finally ate at one about a year ago with a food-savvy colleague, and we had a terrific meal. I keep meaning to go back on my own, or with my hubby, but just haven’t yet. I think I’m still a touch intimidated since I don’t know a lot about the different dishes.

    Of course, I once felt this way about Vietnamese food, too, and now I’m a huge fan, so perhaps once I get over my hesitation I’ll embrace Korean food just as readily.

  4. I will not likely be jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve had a few Korean dishes before, enjoyed them and then walked away. While I love Thai and Indian — as in massive must-have cravings — I can live (quite happily) without Japanese, am so-so on Vietnamese and have lost my taste for most Chinese dishes. My palate seems more attuned to European cuisine.

    Interesting point about the differences between trends and fads.

  5. Kevin says:

    I like Korean food and I have even enjoyed making my own kimchi. I am going to have to look for some of these Korean restaurants in Toronto to try.

  6. danamccauley says:

    Kevin, check out the restaurants along Bloor Street between Bathurst and Christie. THere are lots of good ones there and some great Korean grocery stores, too.

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